Thursday, May 31, 2012


The Tale of the Twin Night Terrors

The good news is that we are not in jail for tossing the twins out the window on our first full night in Melbourne!  A 24 hour trip from Delhi, little to no sleep, nausea (which we thought was from exhaustion and coffee but was something more), out of sorts Wild Animal, equally out of sorts twins, equipment spread over 9 suitcases and 5 rooms, chilly temperatures - let's just say that the deck was stacked against us on our first full night in Melbourne.

Yes, it was pretty obvious on an intellectual level that this was going to be difficult and painful and that adjustments would have to be made and routines would have to be set, but man, it's almost impossible to plan for the tricks your mind will play on you when you're heading into 48 hours of no good sleep, feeling sick and trying to comfort irrational nocturnal tiny babies!  I hate to say it but I have new found sympathies for woman who drown their children (not really, but, last night, I could see off in the horizon a desperate dizzy world where that might seem like a solution).  Now don't take me too seriously and start calling child services, this is a blog after all - but man that first night was bad and perspective is not something that seems to accompany sleep deprivation.

Our first mistake was putting the twins in our room.  I was to be in charge of the twins, Jessica was on Neve watch and Hamish was to rest up so that he could jump back into work (but with the twins only a few feet away, Hamish paid the price as well).  At 10pm, I fed the twins in tandem and put them down and thought, ok, not so bad, I can get two hours of sleep every three hours and after four rotations of this we will be well through the night and I should be feeling much better.  This twin thing is a snap!  SILLY SILLY MOMMY!!

As soon as the lights were out, the twins started grunting and moaning like a gaggle of piglets attacking a pile of slop.  Shortly thereafter Gemma started crying bloody murder in her high pitched cat howl voice.  By the light of the blackberry I tried to comfort them both, feed them more, feeling sure that this restless wakefulness was all due to lack of full tummies, burp them, change them, and finally I just began to beg them to GO THE F!@*# TO SLEEP!  Then Hamish began to beg them to TO GO THE F*!?# TO SLEEP! We seriously considered using the cry it out method on 3 week old babies!  By 8am, I turned to Hamish, who had now come down with whatever flu/nausea I had the day before and said, "Call your parents right now and get them over here, we need REINFORCEMENTS PRONTO!!!".

Mick and Sue gamely answered the call and arrived to a house of overwrought adults and exhausted babies, carrying a bag full of medicines to sooth our heads and tummies.  They took charge of the twins and I fell back into bed until almost 2pm - heaven!  I woke up in a panic and listened for crying, but all was peaceful!  Sue was feeding twins, Mick was burping and diaper changing, Jessica was busily cleaning bottles and dishes and Neve, bless her heart, was working on sleeping up a storm (to make up from screaming the entire way from Singapore to Melbourne).  In the meantime, Hamish   had gone to work fixing some of the things we knew had gone wrong on that first night.  He located a super pac n play from good friends in Melbourne so that the twins could be back together  (they were in separate travel cots that first night) and provide each other some comfort and he bought a monitor so that the twins could live happily in the cozy living room far, far away from sleeping adults in beds (in hopes that those adults could, well, do some actual sleeping in those beds!).

The rest of the day was still more defense than offense but we managed to get everyone a bath with fresh water, meals were prepared and taken and all the children were all still alive, so I felt a tiny, tiny bit triumphant.  We made a plan to spread the pain of twin night terrors between the 5 of us (me, Hamish, Jessica, Mick & Sue) and I was to take the midnight to 6am slot on night two.  I went in more prepared but it was still VERY HARD!  Even after my morning nap, I was feeling a little shaken.  The twins had gotten completely out of synch on the second night which violates one of the cardinal rules of twin raising - always feed them at the same time or else suffer the consequences (which are spending all 24 hours of the day just feeding babies).  They did much better but I nearly threw Hamish out of bed at 6am to take over!

It was a beautiful day today, our second day in Melbourne and it was hard to feel too down about things.  We all took a walk to the park, the twins in their very fancy Mountain Buggy double stroller on loan to us and Neve in her lovely pink butterfly stroller, also on loan.  Neve played like a mad person - this being the first time in a month that she was really permitted to run around outside.  The weather was cool and refreshing and the sky was a perfect blue (something you never see in Delhi due to the pollution).  Neve spent a good amount of time at the park chasing a magpie bird who seemed a little lame but kept safely out of her reach but not far enough to deter her from continuing the chase.  The twins soaked in the fresh air and slept all cozy in the pram.  When it was time to leave, Neve went into convulsions and refused to be strapped into her stroller - SHE WAS NOT LEAVING THAT PARK!  We pried her away and I promised she could come back every day - even twice a day and she ok but please carry me, so I did.

Coming out of the fog of new jet lag, twin adjustments and illness, I finally looked around with fresh eyes and could not believe our good fortune.  We are staying at the house of a very good friend of Mick & Sue's whow is currently visiting her son and his family in New York - it's a bit of a house swap which really made this part of the trip possible for us.  Not only was is it a very generous and overly hospitable act of kindness to lend this crazy clan a house for a month - the house is absolutely wonderful.  It's on a beautiful quiet street in a very nice part of Melbourne, we are a short walk to a nice grocery store (good for those of us challenged by driving on the wrong side of the road!), there are parks and running paths galore outside our door, the house itself is a lovely Edwardian style home full of beautiful antiques with more rooms that we can use and there is a wonderful garden/yard with flowering plants and trees and a vegetable garden.  In short, we are going to be very happy in this lovely home for the next month and will cherish our time here.

Well, the sun is rising following our third night in Melbourne and I better sign off and crawl back into bed.  Night number 3 was a great success if we are measuring (which I am).  Twins are tandem feeding and making it 3+ hours between feeds, everyone is pitching in and we are starting to work like a well oiled machine.  On top of being on top of Neve, Jessica is a baby whisperer and is wonderful with Gemma and Ronan and Mick and Sue have just arrived to take the 7am shift.  They are providing wonderful support on every level and we could not do this without them - that's for sure.  I slept almost 6 hours straight last night and I feel good, maybe even great!!

Take care and lots of love,

G H & N R G

Neve chasing the magpie.

Daddy and Grandpa Mick with Ronan.

Peaceful family at the park!

Grandpa Mick and the Wild Animal - her hair is growing in curls that go straight up!

Can you believe how green and beautiful this place is!

Granny Sue and Aunt Marga

It's tough being a twin.  You have to learn to feed yourself!

Hamish in his new grand office.  Finally the beautiful desk he deserves!

Lovel kitchen where we spend most of our time.

View from the kitchen back to the yard with flowering plants everywhere!

This one reminds me of mountain laurel - my favorite flower! 

View from the new baby suite.

Front of the house - beautiful right?!

Ronan and Gemma back together.  
"Where have you been?  I am so mad that I am not even going to 
look at you until you apologize for leaving me alone."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Departing Purgatory

We are finally on the plane leaving Delhi - two babies asleep, one Wild Animal watching a movie - a rare moment of peace and quiet!  The airport check in was pretty hideous and I caught a glimpse of what it's going to be like to deal with three melting down children while you are trying to do something else (ie checking in 9 huge bags, lugging another 9 carry on bags, discussing passport and bassinet issues with non-helpful check in ladies, tipping porters, filling out departure forms, etc.).  We were able to get one bassinet and, with some finagling by the pushy mama (me!), we were able to get the rest of our group all in a row of four just behind the bassinet seat.  So master Ronan (as he is known in India) is snuggled up in the bassinet and little Gemma is wrapped up tight in her own seat between Jessica and Neve (the plane is freezing - probably 30 degrees colder than these babies have ever experienced and they currently look less like babies and more like piles of blankets).  This moment is not likely to last, so I must blog swiftly from here on out!

Over the past few days we have been trying to make the most of our final time in Delhi.  Less mall, more other stuff.  The highlight was an amazing rickshaw tour through Chandni Chowhk - the very, very busy open markets of Old Delhi.  There are miles and miles and rows and rows of store fronts and hundreds of thousands of people buying, selling, hauling, motoring and hanging out.  First a mile of colorful wedding saris, then a mile of spices piled high in barrels (that you can smell coming), all around people selling all sorts of food from carts that they have pulled in there by hand and weird home made street kitchens (showcasing that the New York "street food scene" has gotten way to cleaned up to really be considered from the street), row after row of jewelry, stationary, beading, fabrics and lots of other things I've forgotten or did not get to see.  The area (at least as far as I can tell without a map) is encircled by a large road, and the center is made up of smaller roads and then smaller paths and then tiny alley ways (think the aorta, to arteries to capillaries, to whatever is smaller) pulsing around in a bustling, confusing maze of utter and complete commerce. 

Our driver got us as close to the nucleus as he could and then negotiated with a rickshaw driver to take us the rest of the way in.  We were nervous but we did as we were told and hopped aboard and off we went.  I have to admit that at points I was thinking that our kidneys were at risk, but our strong, rugged and weathered little rickshaw driver peddled us all over that huge market, through bumper to bumper traffic and down alleys only just wide enough for us to pass - all quite adeptly and quite safely and without any mandatory organ donations.  Most of the time you could reach out and touch the vehicle or the 10 +  persons in the vehicle next to you.  Decked out in cameras and well, being white in all respects, we were a spectacle in our very uncrowded rickshaw and we thought the whole thing was quite a spectacle!  

It was evening but still close to 100 degrees and dusty with a side of pollution that burned our eyes by the end.  And yes, I would say that this was one of the best tourist things I have EVER done!  Hanging off the back of that rickshaw watching the mopeds and buses speed by on either side, close enough to smell the men pushing wooden wagons piled high with packages,  admiring the beautiful sari dressed women waiting in line to get into the temples as the sounds of the call to prayer blared above the constant honking, giving a sly unbelieving smile to the macho men on mopeds who would zoom up behind us honking as if we could go faster and making them actually laugh at the absurdity - we soaked in the energy that is Delhi and were giddy from it.  It was scary and intimidating and seemingly unruly but with many rules, just rules that we did not understand, and it was exhilarating and fun and made me like Delhi again!

After having spent almost 9 weeks total in Delhi over the past couple years, we are still very far from understanding the rules and probably always will be.  In a city of over 19 million people and little to no governmental/police controls (lots of corruption but little law and order), society has had to make up its own rules and they are hard to decipher as a foreigner.  I think this is probably one of the most difficult parts of negotiating India.

As we leave and Ronan lays sleeping so close to me, I sit here trying to muster up some emotional closure for the end of this chapter of our journey.  Came back to Delhi, witnessed the birth of beautiful twins, spent a month and -- blah.  Nothing is coming up easily.  There were more hard times this go around, more whisperings that caused us concern, less quiet baby time than we wanted and needed.   I think I need time to digest this trip before I can really write its ending.

We met many surrogacy parents this go around.  The blog world seems to have gotten bigger and the communication between parents greater and we stepped out from behind the screens to meet each other for lunches and dinners.   We all share this crazy experience - we come from different places and different backgrounds but we all wanted families badly enough to knowingly give ourselves to a doctor in far off India to make that family a reality.  Many have regrets and misgivings but not about their babies.  There is a lot of new parent anxiety and New Delhi anxiety in this purgatory of sorts - babies in hotel rooms, Indian night nurses with different ways of doing things, a hot tough city, various beaucratic mazes to be sorted through (it takes two months to get the citizenship and passports in countries like England and Norway - and we thought we had it bad!) and there are health issues that can keep your babies in foreign hospitals and leave you feeling helpless.  Everyone is thrilled and everyone has a story and a background and pain to share, both current and past.  As we are airborne, headed for decent drinking water and all things familiar, I think of my new friends in purgatory and wish them quick departures and long wonderful lives on the other side with their Delhi babies.

Ok, funny aside.  I am just back after a 5 hour hiatus!  We are now on the way to Melbourne from Singapore and we got the double bassinet in front, the menu for dinner looks awesome (beef and wine!) - all great, but we have been playing an endless game of whack a mole with the babies and Neve.  Each time we think we have those silly moles licked, one of them pops back up with more demands - bottles, diapers, more blankets, etc.  Such is the rest of our lives!!

It is time to get some sleep before our 5am arrival in Melbourne where we will introduce Ronan and Gemma to their Australian grandparents.  It is Grandma Sue's birthday today and I have a feeling that we will be bringing the best presents to the party this year!!

Love to all and farewell India -

G H & N R G

Some pictures of Old Delhi below -

On the day we left, everyone who works at our apartment complex (cleaners, cook, security guards, managers) all stopped in to say goodbye to Neve.  I have a full roll of film on just this topic!

Below with the cleaners.

Hamish and the security guard recreating their morning runs.

Taking Neve on a Tuk Tuk tour - she was not impressed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Far We Have Come With The Help of Strangers

After an exhausting morning on the phone with Qantas (I could wring that airline's neck), we headed over to our new favorite N Block Market to pick out a lovely sari (actually two) for our surrogate mother.  We had very much wanted to meet the twins' surromama personally.  We tried before the twins were born (but she was in the hospital and we were not allowed to visit) and after, but we learned yesterday that she has already returned to her village outside of Delhi.  It's a tricky thing and I understand that many people have a very different viewpoint on whether to meet or not to meet the surromama - but we have always been firmly in the camp of inclusion.

Maybe it's all the adoption books I read while we were trying to adopt and how much they pounded away about the loss complex of the mother and the baby and how important it is to be open and to let everyone acknowledge and grieve the loss because it's there whether you choose to look it in the eye or not.  We wanted to help our surromama get closer to closure and celebration and away from any latent feelings of denial.

It barely scratches the surface to say that carrying a child (or two) for nine months and giving birth is bound to be an emotionally connected act of love  -  paid or unpaid.  We wanted to acknowledge that act of love in person, to thank our surromama, to let her see that the parents she carried these beautiful babies for are good people who will raise them with hearts full of undying love . . . and mostly to let her see the babies she carried so amazingly, at least that one time.  But that will not be our history or hers.

We owe this woman who we have only seen in a photograph something like the equivalent of a hundred million thank you's.  She has given us more than we could ever have imagined.  More than you can pay for.  More than there are words to describe.  Our twins are alive and healthy and are now "ours" because of this woman who we will never meet.  A thank you note and a couple of saris will never be enough - the small miracles asleep in the baby suit, the one's that she carried for us because we could not  - are utterly priceless.  Thank you Chandana and god bless you always.

In the meeting department, we were successful on one count today!  We spent some time with Dr. Shivani this afternoon - our doctor and partner through this crazy surrogacy process.  We talked about everything from raising kids (she has a 3 year old herself, so understands our Wild Animal) to the stresses of Delhi, to surrogacy, to the nitty gritty of the hospital (she's opening/partnering with a baby hospital of her own which she will control and let me tell you, I am certain that when it opens it will be a way different experience from Paras and Phoenix).  Dr. Shivani is a beautiful woman and is successful beyond belief because of her own drive and real passion to help others create a family.   She is kind, but tough and practical and always has a smile on her face.

As we were sitting there it hit me that we could never meet again.  This woman who has been the guiding force behind the creation of our family and has been a constant part of our lives for the past 2 + years - now that our family has been created we won't be popping over to Delhi quite so often (or maybe ever) and this meeting may have been our last.  There have obviously been many people involved, and our children are the result of multiple acts of kindness by strangers - but Dr. Shivani has been there with us the whole way.  As we were sitting there in the beautiful lounge of her new center, with great a/c, white leather couches, cold water for everyone and pictures galore of all of the babies she has created (including Neve) - it really hit me what a true odyssey this has been.  It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day in Delhi and miss the big picture and I am sorry that I have been guilty of this.

I will never forget meeting Dr. Shivani for the first time in a tiny, hot, somewhat dirty meeting room at Phoenix hospital at around 9pm at night having just arrived in Delhi. We waited almost an hour for this first meeting because she was still attending to patients (something I came to appreciate more once we were actual patients!).  We were hungry, jetlagged and still carrying our American lawyer personalities with us (traits we now somewhat try to check at the Delhi door!).  I wondered to myself "what the hell are we doing?  this is totally insane!! dear god we have lost it for sure this time!!".  But after all of the other crazy attempts at family creation we had enthusiastically thrown ourselves into over the prior 6 years, this one seemed just crazy to enough to work - and a few months later it did!

I have had the opportunity to speak to many people who are interested in surrogacy in India and they always ask about control over the process and medical this or that - and I always say that you have to trust Dr. Shivani and her judgment.  She is looking out for your family and she will make the quick and sometimes hard calls that are necessary to get you there.  You can't micromanage her or anything in Delhi - so this is not the place for you if that's what you want.  Take a deep breath, let go, trust her, come to Delhi be annoyed, be overjoyed, go home as a family.

When we left Dr. Shivani's office today, I hugged her neck and started to cry.  This really came out of nowhere and I was surprised by my emotions.  We would love for Dr. Shivani to come to New York and do lectures and catch up - but realistically she will never be a part of our lives the way she has been.  And, what we have because of her is so immeasurable.  It all just hit me and the tears would not be contained. Again, a thank you and a hug do not seem like enough.  We love and thank you Dr. Shivani for keeping us strong and keeping us going and orchestrating the creation of our amazing family.

Ok, enough good byes and thanks for this one post!!

This may be a good spot to explain how surrogacy works here in India and in most places around the world.  I have been surprised by how many people have asked me this question so I think it's important to get the facts out there.  In a surrogacy situation, you would almost never use the eggs of the surrogate mother.  You typically implant an embryo unrelated to the surrogate so that there is no biological connection between the surrogate and the baby she is carrying.  This is done for obvious legal reasons and for emotional reasons as well.  So, just to be clear, neither of our surromama's is biologically related to our children.  That being said, we would never ever underestimate the emotional bond, the connection and the unbelievable love and physical toll that it take to carry a baby, much less twins to term.  Ok - that's it for surrogacy 101!!

We have four full days left in India and we mean to make most of them!

More later -


G H & N R G

No denying that these two are twins.  
Whatever we do, they nudge closer to each other!!

They are going to make a terrific synchronized swimming duo one day!

Some Wild Animal photos in the baby suite.
Anila getting in a tickle.

Jessica getting in a tickle!

Running on the bed - yikes!  
Great idea in general and even better with marble floors!
If the wild animal escapes India without a concussion it will be a complete miracle.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Countdown Begins

Woke up to great news this morning - the DNA lab in California (Universal Genetics) worked over the weekend and had our results ready for open of business Delhi time!  There's a 99.9% chance that Ronan and Gemma are Hamish's biological children and that's good enough to earn the little guys citizenship and the blessed golden tickets - US passports.  We should have everything from the embassy tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest, then we do one visit to the FRRO for exit visas and we are free to go!  We are scheduled to leave Delhi next Monday (exactly a week from today) and so the countdown to our Delhi departure begins.

This trip to Delhi has been so different from our last.  It has felt more hurried and chaotic.  Perhaps this is the result of revisionist history on my part or perhaps this is just the reality of life with three babies verses one.  Perhaps it's the incredibly repetitive mall visits and all the caffeine that goes with them! We were in a bit of a new baby cocoon with Neve last year.  I feel like I spent hours sitting around the apartment staring at Neve, photographing Neve, blogging about Neve, oohing and awing over every little thing Neve did.  This time there has been little safe harbor baby time.

But cocoon or no, next Monday we sprout wings and part II of the sequel begins.  We leave in the morning for Singapore, have a bit of a layover - then catch an overnight flight to Melbourne, Australia.  Three adults, two infants and one Wild Animal - oh my!  We will be assuming full control of the twins - thank god and OMG!  The nurses are taking great care of Ronan and Gemma, but the little ones are showing signs of needing a full time Mommy and Daddy.   Once we are in and settled in Melbourne I somehow HAVE to weave up some silk and create at least a part time twin cocoon for both their sake and mine!

Our weekend was great - had a very festive dinner out on Saturday night and then a lovely lunch with Douglas and Chad on Sunday.  All so much fun that I did not manage a single photo!  We will miss our Delhi friends although everyone seems to be in preparation to flee the heat of the summer.

It was Anila's birthday yesterday and we had a cake and I used it as a great excuse to go back to my new favorite shops at the N Block Market to pick up a gift for her.  She was very sweet and shy about all of the attention - she smiled, giggled, grabbed the knife, cut the cake and then fed us each a bite - sort of like a wedding in the baby suite!  We will miss Anila - that's for sure.

So, this last week in Delhi my goals include (1) making sure Jessica sees something more of Delhi than our apartment and the mall - she's going to the Taj Mahal tomorrow, so that's a pretty darn good start, (2) prepare for full time twin care (gulp!) and (3) shop a little more!!

Take care!

G, H & N R G

Anila cutting her birthday cake.

Anila feeding Hamish cake while Hamish is feeding Ronan.

The birthday girl!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Good Times!

Some very excellent developments in this, our second journey to India to retrieve small humans: (1) terrific doctor's appointment for the twins at Paras Spring Meadows Hospital, (2) Jessica, our Wild Animal trainer, has arrived in Delhi fresh from Reno, Nevada, and (3) I finally found great shopping in Delhi!

On point one - 

We  took Ronan and Gemma back to the hospital yesterday for their two week check-ups.  I can't believe they are already that old! The pediatrician at Paras examined the little ones and found them to be in excellent health - hearts are good, lungs are good and, wait for it  . . . . . . . their weights are really up!  

Ronan is now 2.9 kg (up from 2.3 kg at birth and 2.1 kg on discharge) and Gemma is now 2.6 kg (up from 2.0 kg at birth and 1.95kg on discharge).  The rigorous stuffing by the baby nurses has paid off in scores and the twins have the milk blisters and the weight to prove it.  I will eat my words from the last post and go out on a limb by agreeing that these two are downright chubby (sort of, except in the ankles)!  

I have grown very fond of the pediatrician at Paras, Dr. Tandon, and have great faith in him and in Paras hospital in general.  Please keep in mind that my post on the hospital experience was colored by heat and the Wild Animal's antics and in retrospect I was not as fair to them as I should have been and I am sorry for that.  If we were to go for number 4, I would gladly have the baby born in Paras to the care of Dr. Tandon.  I would just leave numbers 1, 2 and 3 at home  . . .  in New York . . . . and I would do it in January not May!  Thanks Dr. T!!

Chubby Gemma cheeks!

On point two - 

I popped in the car at 8pm last night to meet Jessica our new friend/nanny/godsend at the airport.  She had been traveling for something close to 24 hours having come from Reno, Nevada and arrived perky and happy and ready to go.  Jessica is going to help us for the rest of our stay in Delhi and then she will go on with us to Australia and all the way back to New York (and on all the flight adventures in between!).  

Jessica is sweet and adorable and Neve took to her right away.  I just don't think that Neve realizes that Jessica is something of a professional in this field having studied child development in school and having a fair amount of work experience which small children.  Jessica is very kind with Neve, but she means business and we are beyond excited to have a professional in the house again.  I think Jessica is going to teach us a thing or two about taming Wild Animals.

We are thrilled to have Jessica with us and she has already made a big difference in just one day!!


On point three -

My new good friend in Delhi popped by this morning and took me out for a proper shopping trip.  This is our third time in Delhi and frankly I had given up on ever finding proper shopping. I have been shuttled through all of the tourist trap centers and have practically lived at the mall, but have always been - well, left unimpressed.  But, today, I finally found REAL shopping at the N Block Market.  Beautiful fabrics and bed linens and towels and pillows and clothes and more!  I did some damage, but now that I've got a taste, I will be back for MORE!!  It's going to be raining India for Christmas this year so clean out your linen closets and get ready!

Loot from the shopping trip!  Such beautiful things!

We are going out for a proper actual dinner outside the apartment at a real restaurant tonight without a Wild Animal tossing food and screeching at us.  I am so giddy with excitement - it's like we just got our IDs and are being let loose in a beer hall!  And this, to be followed up tomorrow by a fantastic family brunch in the beautiful embassy area of Delhi with our friends Chad and Douglas.  


Much love,

G, H & N R G

Neve examining her new big girl duvet!

Gemma semi-enjoying a bath.

Ronan in his Star Belly t-shirt - thanks Allison!

Gemma's little toes!

Neve checking the price tags and agreeing that we should go back for more!
Get your orders in now!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Walk in the Park

First I want to thank everyone who reached out to us after my "Tough Day" post.  It really does inspire us to keep fighting the fight knowing that we have so much support out there  - and the kind words from those of you that have more than walked in our shoes (parents of Delhi triplets, you know who you are!) were very reassuring.  The morning after the "tough day" we picked ourselves up off the bed, brushed off the Delhi dust (which just went to the floor to be picked up again by my feet and Neve's entire body!), examined the cuts and bruises and declared ourselves fit for another day!

Today we had plans to take Neve over to our new good friend's house in Delhi.  She has twin boys and a daughter 13 months older (sound familiar?) and she was having some other friends with kids over for an afternoon play date and invited us to join them.  That sounded perfect to me - a mall free day and the company of new fun friends (and possibly beer) - I was thrilled.  I planned the Wild Animal's naps with care, washed my hair, almost called the car and then the e-mail came.  One of her twins has a high fever - play date cancelled!!! Oh NOOOOOOO!!

Instead of a Delhi play date we muddled through the afternoon at home with the Wild Animal but I learned some good lessons.

(1) The Wild Animal is a grazer by nature even though she presents as more carnivore than herbivore.  She needs a lot more snacks than I have been providing and is in a much better mood if fed almost constantly (which is tough to do in the mall where she's too distracted to focus on food).

(2) The Wild Animal does not need to be dead exhausted to sleep.  If you want her to go to sleep earlier, you just give he a "ba ba", put her in the crib with Square (her pink security blanket which for some reason is a him not a her, ie "where is square Neve? Did you just put him in the trash can?"), close the door and just like magic, a little roaring, but then she goes to sleep.  What an amazing circus trick!

(3) The Wild Animal is getting smarter.  She now knows where her nose is, her toes are, can pick out the fish toy and the crab toy from the other toys when asked and says "boo, boo" when she wants to play the peek a boo game on the ipod touch.  With language will eventually come reasoned and rational behavior!! Or at least I can hope!

(4) The Wild Animal is pretty darn adorable and I should give her a bit of break.  She's one of a kind and I would not trade her for anything in the world!

The twins are doing their thing up in the baby suite.  They eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop, get a sponge bath, eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop, repeat daily.  That being said, with all the eating they do, they magically never seem to be eating while Neve is napping (and I could do some feeding).  I think when Neve goes up to the baby suite and tries to climb over the edge of the crib (which she is getting dangerously close to being able to do) she bullies them with secret big sister baby code not to eat while I'm available.  I swear that every time I get up there the nurse is just putting down a twin and pronouncing it's sleeping time - everyone is full up - and then scoots me out the door so as not to mess with the schedule!  Oh well, I will just keep trying!  I was able to sneak Ronan out for a quick photo shoot - see below (more on Grandparent's Corner).

Eyeing mr. crab!

He has the longest feet and toes and look at those skinny little ankles!  
So cute!

We take the twins tomorrow morning to their two week doctor's appointment (so I'll at least get to hold a twin for a couple hours tomorrow!).  This will, of course, include the big Weigh In we have all been waiting for.  Bets are being taken and all the bookies are on it!  Hamish is convinced they have both put on extreme amounts of weight and that Gemma is looking downright "chubby" in the face.  He pronounced this earlier today as we were staring at the twins asleep in the crib and I thought "what baby are you looking at" and then I saw his face and he had this "I love my babies" look in his eyes which was totally sweet and I did not want to burst his bubble by disagreeing.  I do think that weight has been gained and that the twins look healthy (skin wrinkles from lack of meat on the bones are mostly gone) but I'm not sure these guys will have any chance of being called "chubby" by anyone but a proud Daddy for a little while longer.  At any rate, we are all carbo loading tonight so that in the morning we can put our fattest foot forward as a family!

This evening we took Neve out for a walk in the park.  It was a balmy 90 degrees, the traffic was outrageous, the honking was deafening and Neve and her stroller were nearly run over several times, but she did not seem to notice and we all totally enjoyed the outing!

It's pretty green and lush in the park - they do a lot of watering!

Mean stray dog that was charging me as I took this photo!  
Someone in the park warned us that the stray dogs in the park are "ferocious" and I totally believe it. 

Pathways for jogging/walking.

Neve "making friends" in the park. 

Neve rudely pointing at new friend in the park.

Neve trying to steal the coconut dog toy from very nice (thankfully) 
golden retriever (not a stray) in the park.  

Veg stand on the way home.  
Neve looking bored and wondering were the mac n cheese stand is.

The walk home.

Security guards waiting for us outside of the gates.  
I think they were getting worried - very sweet!

Best photo yet of Ronan and Gemma - all tangled up in twin love!!

That's about it!  Take care and talk to you more later!  


G, H & N R G